Three days post-Sandy

I found myself at the end of the A

in Rockaway Beach

one of the herd of volunteers

amassed alongside

a heap of supplies

Home Depot dropped off

to begin the reconstruction

of the coastline

I’d once hitched a ride to

at the Ramones’ request.


Paired up with Oscar

I walked five blocks

to the three story townhouse

he told me

was turned into an aquarium

inhabited by possessions


and pictures

floating in the saltwater

tank of his basement.


Hefty bags cinched around our legs

held up by duct tape

we descended the stairs

surgical masked

for demolition down to the studs

we plunged our arms

shoulder deep

into the dry now wetwall

through supersaturated layers

of pink insulation

by the light of caged bulbs

plugged in eight extension cords away.


Seven hours later I emerged from the basement

leaving Oscar alone with the studs

and made my way back

to the supply pile

where I shed my Hefty bags to expose

the sneakers I’d planned to carry me

through the marathon

not-yet canceled

but long forgotten.


Beside the heap I found

a box Sharpie-marked

for the deposit

and possible return

of pictures found floating

in the now receding water

memories of the pre-Sandy days

and grabbed a Polaroid

I knew Oscar would love.